2011/12 review: three managers, one season

Our final Width of a Post 2011/12 season review ‘essay’ sees Mark Scully look back at how the Bantams went through three managers.

With the Bradford City players away catching some sun before Parkinson gets them back for pre season training, ahead of what is hoped will be a far better season than the one that has just finished, I thought a reflection on the previous campaign from a managerial perspective was in order.

Throughout the course of the 2011/2012 season three managers took charge of the famous claret and amber. First up was Jacko; I was enthusiastic in the summer when he landed the job permanently following his interim spell towards the end of the previous campaign. The noises coming out of the corridors of power at Valley Parade were nothing put positive. The youth development squad with Archie Christie was set up and – between him and Jackson – signings were coming in and looking impressive. On the face of it, a successful season ahead was on the horizon.

Unfortunately though, as we are all aware, the Jackson era was hardly a vintage success. A poor start to the season meant both he and the players were under immediate pressure. Following what appeared to be a routine board meeting towards the end of August, Jackson resigned. Whatever happened in that meeting still remains cloudy, but it appears that the board felt (and rightly so) that the squad wasn’t good enough and it needed strengthening. Whether Jacko felt he wasn’t the right man to do that or if he felt undermined I’m not sure, but it was a statistic that City didn’t want as they became the first club of the season to start the search of a new manager.

Following the sudden departure of Jackson, his No.2 Colin Cooper took over the reins for a short period. Personally if Cooper had of landed the job permanently I wouldn’t of been too disappointed, sometimes it’s too easy to go for the same merry-go-round managers that get sacked from various clubs rather than taking a chance on a new up and coming manager. We’ve had the most success in many years by going down that route when Paul Jewell took us on the unbelievable journey to the Premier League, and many other clubs have had success following a similar managerial route.

During Cooper’s only game in charge he guided the side to a brilliant 4-2 win over Barnet, arguably one of the best performances witness by the City fans all season! As it turned out, Parkinson arrived shortly afterwards and, after that, Cooper left to re-join his home town club Middlesbrough in their coaching set up.

Finally, our third gaffer and our current one – Parky. I’m sure I’m not the only one saying that hopefully he will be in the role for a long time coming, because that would mean the good times are heading back to Valley Parade. Granted, it hasn’t been the best in terms of results under Parkinson’s tenure thus far; but it was a very difficult campaign that he had to oversee. Parky signed numerous players some struggled whilst others did well, as he essentially built a brand new side during the course of the season.

The home form from November onwards was impressive – only Crawley took all three points away after Rotherham beat us back in the dark winter months of 2011. The much needed clear out is well and truly underway, and I’m sure his recruitment drive is in full swing. Going forward into the next season, I do firmly believe that as a club we do have the right man in charge. Given the opportunity over this summer to bring in the right type of player, both mentally and ability wise, we will have a decent chance of doing well – being the biggest club in the league by a mile needs a certain type of player to enable to handle the pressure that comes with the ‘big team’ tag.

Once the squad is finalised, I’m confident that it will stack up against the other teams considered to be in line for a successful 2012/2013 season. I might even stick a few pound on us being successful – here’s hoping!

Categories: 2011/12 season review

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